19 Mar 2013

iBenedictines: Lent, Popes and plain speaking

From iBenedictines this morning (like all good monastics who help bring us back to the true reality of our lives), a reminder to us all, that we are still in the "joyful season of Lent".

"Depending on your preferred online reading, you could be forgiven for thinking that Lent had been forgotten amidst all the riot of discordant opinion about Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI. To say that is a pity is an understatement.

We are approaching the holiest time of the Christian year and we need to focus. Inevitably, there is a lot of interest in both Francis and Benedict, but if we are busier scooping up fascinating details about them or speculating about their intentions than living Lent, we may forget what really matters: preparing heart and mind for the solemn feast of Easter.

So, instead of getting into a fret about what may or may not be happening in the Vatican, why not ask yourself some hard questions to which you, and only you, know the answers. How is your prayer, fasting and almsgiving going? Does your Lent still have the purity of intention with which you began? Are you more aware of your own sin and the immense forgiveness of God? The next questions are trickier, and only those around you will be able to judge, if at all, the progress you have made. Have you become more charitable, more patient, in a word, more like our crucified Lord? Or have you been blessed with a grace so glorious and overwhelming that you have forgotten self entirely in your wonder and awe at the infinite goodness of God?

Sometimes a little plain speaking at this point of Lent is all we need to get us back on track. I would not dare to ask these questions had I not already asked them of myself and blushed at the answers I gave."

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